From Chiasso by Michele Galoppini
In two days at the Swiss ITF tournament of Chiasso, $25,000, Spazio Tennis has met several players and enjoyed some nice interview-time with them, finding out their status of form, their goals and dreams. Some of these names will make it big one day, so it’s well worth a read.
Tamara Zidansek (8) d. Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (Q) 6-2 6-4
“I think I played a very solid first round, she is a good player and it was very tough in second set especially, but I’m glad I won and I am in second round.”
Also conditions are tough: it’s quite cold and also windy…
“Yeah, luckily it is not as windy as it was two days ago (laugh). It’s very cold, it’s hard to play like this cause on clay you should move well and slide and in these conditions you risk more to get injured. I totally prefer hot conditions.”
Did you checked your draw? What do you think about it?
“I just check my second round, I know I will play a Swiss girl or an Australian girl, they play today and I’ll be around to check them and be prepared for round 2.”
You had a very positive 2015, you won 5 tournaments, you now play 25k instead of 10k and you are close to top250. Did you expect such a great 2015 and this good start in 2016?
“It’s always nice to get something unexpected, I’m playing my best season so far, also thank to the good practice I’m doing.”
You won so many matches on clay, but your ITF profile says you love hardcourt. Is it correct?
“Well, no, it is wrong. Actually I have to change it cause I prefer clay (laugh). I played few times on hardcourt and I basically never practice on that.”
You are very young and you are a brilliant hope for your country. How much hard is to grow up in a small country, with few players, a small federation, etc?
“Exactly, we don’t have many Slovenian players and we don’t have many academies where you can play with everyone. It’s not easy, there are a lot of expenses and luckily my parents helped me till now. I’d like to be able from now on to cover expenses by myself, and now we also found some sponsors. It’s getting easier finally.”
Do you feel the pressure of being such a good prospect for Slovenia?
“Hmm, no. Not right now at least (laugh).”
Reka-Luca Jani d. Clothilde De Bernardi (LL) 4-6 6-4 6-0
“It was quite difficult but it is always difficult in first rounds. When you start a tournament you are more nervous, and I’m also the champion of last edition, you have to get used to the conditions, to the courts. Today it was also very windy, I needed time to find my game, mostly in first set. Sometimes it was that windy that I got confused and I missed many balls making a lot of mistakes. Later in the match I finally understood the conditions and I played my tennis and it worked.”
Also last year the first round for you was very tough, against Camerin. You saved many match points before reaching second round… and then the trophy. Today’s match could be a sign you’ll win again?
“Yeah, I know! I think I was 2-6 2-5 down against Camerin last year, one game away from a loss. Hopefully now it will end like last year…”
Season probably started not in the way you hoped, but now that finally you feel better and you healed from the injury things are getting better and better.
“I had a serious injury in the end of last year, I had fracture in my left foot caused by stress, I had a surgery and last few months have been quite tough for me. I started to play again only in February and I had to restart from zero. Anyway I got some good results and I played a lot of matches, so now I feel good again.”
You also achieved a win in a WTA main draw. It was your first one, am I right?
“Yeah, it was the first win in a WTA tournament, and I started from qualification, I’m really happy for it.”
Thank you Reka, good luck for next matches.
“Thank you, hopefully I will have more time to talk after next matches!”
Rebeka Masarova (WC) d. Isabella Wallace 7-6 6-2
“I think it was a good match, Isabella Wallace played good but before the match I talked to my coach and we thought about the perfect tactic against her and this helped me a lot and I got the win.”
You went 7-6 5-2 and two match points, you missed the first match point by a millimeter. What did you think in that moment, how did you react?
“It was a stupid mistake cause I wanted to play the point to win it. I had to think more and I did it in the next points and I closed the match in good style.”
Few months ago you reached semifinals in Australian Open Junior. Do you want to talk about that experience, about being in a Grand Slam together with other top players?
“Playing a junior Grand Slam is an amazing experience, having done the semifinals was pretty good and a great achievement, also cause that tournament is one of the best tournament and being there to play was an amazing experience and a privilege.”
Would you like to let yourself known a bit better explaining your game style and your general tactic?
“I try to play in an intelligent way and not only with power. Each match has a specific tactic of course, depending on the opponent, but my own game is generally aggressive, based on fact I’m also fast.”
I saw in your ITF profile that one of your hobbies is baking…
“Yeah! I love making cookies, cupcakes and sweets. Whenever I’m home I do it.”
Last question, what are your goals for this tournament and for the season?
“I don’t have a specific goal regarding a round to reach, but I want to play each match in the best way I can. Same for the rest of the season.”
Basak Eraydin (6) d. Tess Sugnaux (WC) 6-1 7-5
“It wasn’t easy at all to play today in these conditions, you never know what happens. But in tennis you have to be ready to every condition and I’m happy I managed to win with this wind, I’m happy, even if I’m not happy for the way I played (laugh).”
In the second set you were also 2-5 down, you had a great reaction to win 7-5.
“I tried to don’t miss much cause I was a bit out of focus. I tried to be more focused and make her miss instead of missing myself. I chose to play safer instead of taking more risks.”
You have one-handed backhand, and also Sherazad Reix was playing at the same time with one-handed backhand. It is not that usual in women’s tennis. How did this shot born for you?
“When I started to play tennis, my father made me play one-handed backhand and it was my decision to keep it. Many girls when they are 11 or 12 change it to a two-handed one.”
Cagla Buyukakcay just won a WTA tournament in Istanbul, in front of home crowd. How much this win will help Turkish tennis and also you?
“A Turkish player winning a WTA title is a very big thing. It’s great and I’m so happy for her. I think in Turkey people started watching more tennis finally, cause in past years it was football only. Now they changed a bit mentality and this will be good for everyone and for Turkish tennis.”
Last question: goals for the season?
“I’m planning to play at least Slam’s qualifying tournaments soon. I don’t set very specific targets cause it puts on me pressure.”
Amanda Carreras (Q) d. Antonia Lottner 6-2 6-0
“My opponent is very solid and she has a very good serve since she is tall. I had to be solid and use a lot of spin, which is my game on clay. And today it worked.”
There are tough conditions here in Chiasso: two days ago it was very windy, today it was rainy and now it is windy and cold. How did you cope with that.
“It’s tennis, you get used to this, you never know what will happen. The wind and the rain are for everyone, so you have just to play your game and see what comes.”
Do you feel comfortable in these conditions or do you prefer sunny and hot ones?
“I live in Spain and I definitely prefer hot weather, but I don’t mind, I’m English so I’m used to the cold…”
Last year you played here in Chiasso and you reached semifinals, so it seems you like this tournament…
“Yes, this tournament is very nice, people are very nice, food is very nice (laugh) and facilities are good; maybe the weather could be better but you can’t control it (laugh).”
What are your goals here?
“Goal is to do better than last year, maybe final… but I will take one match at the time, play my game and hopefully I will win.”
If you missed it, there was also an exclusive and lengthy interview with Swiss young talent Jil Belen Teichmann that you can read here.